Guest Blog | A Love Letter to Down With Love | Andrew Barber
Another brilliant writer has responded to the call! Here is a review for Down with Love by friend of the Pod, Andrew Barber!
I’ll start this by saying I usually have no time for romcoms. Grand romantic gestures after 90 minutes of disappointing emotional immaturity are no basis for a relationship.
This one I liked. I liked it because it’s such a period piece. It looks exactly like the 60s movies it was intended to parody, and it’s such an affectionate parody, it’s practically a love letter. Visually, it’s perfect. The lighting, the costumes, the titles… the two stars (Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger) even sing the theme tune as a duet. They take the piss, but it’s like someone ironically singing along with an Abba song (to which they mysteriously know all the words). They take the piss because they love it. It’s banter, innit. The plot is no less plausible than that of dozens of similar movies. Zelllweger’s feminist author has a complicated almost-relationship with McGregor’s playboy journalist, and a comic battle of the sexes plot ensues. But the fact that it’s a parody means that there’s room for satire, and that was there too - politically, socially, and in the way it explored and modified the conventions of romcoms, stylistically as well. It, er, made some brave choices regarding plausibility at times, and I’m keen not to reveal the big surprise at the end, which is both glorious in its implausibility and entirely consistent with the spirit of the original movies, but it is that rare thing - a movie, especially a romcom, that the whole family can probably enjoy, and all for different reasons.
Originally published on Tumblr on 26th March 2020